Horsepower and VO2 Max

IMG_3425Things may have been a little quiet of late, but that does not mean I have been neglecting my running. I enjoyed a lovely recovery run at the end of last week, and this Sunday I resumed my endurance-building with a longish run along a stretch of the Brampton Valley Way. The “recovery” was needed on two counts: To ease myself back gently after a couple of ankle sprains, and to work off the (not too extreme) excesses of my birthday celebrations at the beginning of the month. Even we elite runners have to have time out from the physical and nutritional rigours of training.

This morning I set out to run about 4 to 5 miles with the intention of putting in quite a bit of effort. This involved a little bit of interval work – running at a faster pace for short distances – and it included some fairly hilly (or “moderately inclined”) stretches. I wore my heart-rate monitor for the first time since February to check that it – and my heart – were still in working order. I was pleased to find that my VO2 max has increased by one unit, putting me at the 15th percentile for my age and gender.

Now, for anyone not familiar with VO2 max….

This is a measure of cardiorespiratory fitness and is used widely in endurance sports circles. It is the maximum volume of oxygen (in millilitres) you can consume per minute per kilogram of body mass at your maximum level of performance. It can most accurately be determined in laboratory conditions, but this is usually not practical or feasible unless you are a professional athlete or are undergoing medical investigations. There are a number of ways it can be estimated using various formulae, such as the Fick equation or the Uth-Sorensen-Pedersen estimation. My sports watch is linked to the heart monitor, so it uses that data to provide a reading. As of today, that is 41ml/min/kg.

The above-mentioned equations are real – unlike my more tongue-in-cheek post Dr Derek’s Running Equations! Just thought I would clarify – remember, anything by Dr Derek is going to be factually dubious, factually challenged.

And the horsepower? Well, further proof of my improving fitness – I overtook three horses on my run today! And we were going up a moderate incline. It was just a case of the fastest plodder winning the day. Tempted to take a selfie, but I didn’t want to scare the horses.



2 thoughts on “Horsepower and VO2 Max

  1. Hm… Now WHICH doc ran past the horses? Uphill… Is that one we’re supposed to believe or is it “dubious?” I would have loved to have seen a selfie!!! LOL I just love the pix up here, btw. You really have quaint wooden signs at the crossroads! Too cool!


    1. Haha! It is like the children’s game “Simon Says”! The bit about the horses was true – they were walking very slowly, I think one of the riders was under instruction. Dr Derek clearly cannot be trusted. 🙂


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